A loose or weak feeling in the steering of a car can be attributed to various factors. Common causes include worn steering components like tie rods or ball joints, improper wheel alignment, low or contaminated power steering fluid, malfunctioning power steering pump, worn steering rack or gearbox, loose or worn steering column components, and suspension issues. These factors introduce play or affect the performance of the steering system, resulting in a loose steering feel.
To address this, have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic to identify the specific cause and recommend necessary repairs or replacements. Prompt attention is crucial for safety and optimal vehicle handling. Regular maintenance, such as checking fluid levels and wheel alignment, can help prevent or identify potential issues early on, maintaining a responsive and secure steering experience.
Common causes of a loose steering wheel
Loose steering is a reason for concern because it can make your car react unpredictably to turns of the steering wheel. It can also lead to a failed Warrant of Fitness in New Zealand.
In order to operate safely, the steering wheel must have a certain level of resistance. This ensures that the driver is able to correctly control the car. There are several parts in your steering system which work together to ensure that this resistance is present. A loose steering wheel occurs when there is too much “play” inside your car’s steering system. This can be caused by a variety of things:
Damaged or worn tie rods
Tie rods form a connection between the steering system and the wheels. Over time, they can be subject to wear which can result in reduced resistance in the steering wheel. Other symptoms of damaged tie rods include:
- The steering wheel shaking
- The steering wheel making “squeaking” noises
- Increased wear on tyres
- Incorrect wheel alignment
Worn ball joints
A ball joint is a round steel ball which acts as a pivot point between the wheels and suspension. This allows the wheels and suspension to move back and forth while the steering wheel is turned. Due to the high levels of stress ball joints are put under, they can eventually wear and cease to function properly. This can affect your car’s steering. Other symptoms of a worn ball joint include:
- Clunking noises while turning
- Uneven wear on front tyres
- The steering wheel pulling to the left or right
Is it safe to drive with a loose steering wheel?
Driving with a loose steering wheel is highly unsafe and should be avoided. It indicates a serious problem with the steering system that can compromise your ability to control the vehicle effectively. The risks associated with a loose steering wheel include a loss of steering control, increased steering effort, unpredictable steering behavior, and a higher likelihood of component failure.
A loose steering wheel can result in a lack of responsiveness or delayed response when turning the wheel, making it difficult to maneuver the vehicle safely. This becomes particularly problematic during emergency situations or when navigating sharp turns or curves. Additionally, the need to exert more force and effort to steer the vehicle due to the loose steering wheel can lead to driver fatigue and make it harder to maintain control, especially during long drives or when quick steering adjustments are necessary.
Additionally, a loose steering wheel can cause unpredictable steering behavior, including sudden movements or a lack of stability. This makes it challenging to keep the vehicle on a straight path, increasing the risk of veering off the road or colliding with oncoming traffic. Furthermore, a loose steering wheel may be a sign of underlying issues with critical steering components. If these components fail while driving, there can be a complete loss of steering control, posing a severe danger.
Steering Warrant of Fitness Tightening & Replacement Service in Hamilton
Has your car failed a Warrant of Fitness due to a steering-related issue? If so, we can help! At Grimmer Motors, our team of excellent mechanics can service and fix your car’s steering system, installing new ball joints and fixing tie rods if necessary. This will allow for improved handling and safety.
For car steering part replacements in Hamilton, contact Grimmer Motors today!